CAT 2021: Eligibility, Syllabus, Exam Pattern

Every year, IIMs (Indian Institutes of Management) conduct the Common Admission Test (CAT) to select suitable candidates for postgraduate management courses. It is a computer-based online entrance exam whose scores are used by several management institutes to select candidates for various management-oriented programs. Every year thousands of students appear for this exam. Due to the high number of candidates, CAT is regarded as an extremely competitive examination to crack. Many institutes like SPJIMR, IMI, IMT, NITIE, Management Development Institute (Gurgaon), and many more consider CAT scores for their admission process. Your CAT score holds the key to securing admission to your dream institute, which will eventually take you one step closer to your career goals.

Eligibility Criteria for CAT 2021

Before looking at the exam pattern and syllabus for the CAT Exam 2021, it is important to know who candidates are eligible for giving the exam. To be eligible for the exam, each candidate must fulfil the following required criteria: -

Age Limit

There is no upper age limit applicable to candidates appearing for CAT 2021.

Work Experience

Previous work experience is not compulsory to appear for CAT 2021. Though, several institutions do require the candidates to have some previous work experience.

Educational Qualifications

The candidate should have completed a bachelor’s degree in any course with a minimum of 50% marks. Candidates from reserved categories like SC (Scheduled Tribe), SC (Scheduled Caste), PWD (Person with Disability), or DA (Differently Abled) should have a minimum of 45% scores in their bachelor’s degree. It is the major requirement that each candidate must complete being eligible for the CAT Exam. The bachelor’s degree should be awarded by a reputed University or an educational institution valid under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956. The university or the educational institution should be recognized by the Ministry of HRD. The students in the final year of their bachelor’s degree or have completed the bachelor’s degree and waiting for the result declaration are also eligible for the CAT exam. These students will get admission only after they submit the Provision Certificate issued by the Principal or the Registrar of the University or institute. The certificate should mention that the student has completed the degree in his/her course successfully with the university with minimum marks.

CAT Exam Pattern

You should know the exam pattern very well to divide the syllabus and preparation time accordingly and prepare yourself to attempt the exam in the allocated time. Here you will find the total time you will be given, the marking scheme, and different sections in which you will get your questions.

Total Duration of CAT Exam 2021 120 Minutes 40 minutes for each section For PwD candidates, 53 minutes 20 seconds for each section
Total Question in the exam 76 questions
Total Marks to be obtained 228 marks
Marking Scheme of the Exam +3 on every correct answer -1 on every wrong answer
No. of sections in the exam 3
Name of the sections Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) Quantitative Aptitude (QA) Data Interpretation (DI) and Logical Reasoning (LR)

As per the new CAT 2021 exam pattern, you will be given 120 minutes to solve 76 questions carrying 3 marks. There is a negative marking on each wrong answer (-1). The exam is divided into three different sections, as mentioned above. This exam tests each dimension to make you prepare for the business courses. In your preparation time, you will learn each tangent, which will help you open your mind, think deeply, and solve questions logically.

CAT Exam Syllabus

The exam syllabus is divided into three following sections:

  • Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC) – VARC includes unseen comprehensions and questions related to them. It helps you to improve your reading ability and problem-solving capability. You will also come across grammar-related questions in this section, allowing you to keep a good hold on your English and grammar.
  • Quantitative Aptitude (QA) – This section comprises Mathematics from Class 8 to 10 where you will come across topics like Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry, Number system, etc.
  • Logical Reasoning and Data Interpretation (LR and DI) – Logical Reasoning (LR) comprises a wide variety of questions that will help you think logically and solve questions related to seating arrangements, direction, speed questions, etc. At the same time, Data Interpretation (DI) will help you gain knowledge about data given in the form of tables, pie charts, bar graphs, etc.

You must visit the official CAT 2021 website and download the PDF for the syllabus to help prepare a proper study plan.

CAT Exam Important Dates

You need to know the important dates for CAT Exam 2021, so you do not miss anything. Refer to the table below to identify the important dates for CAT 2021.

S. no: 1
Events CAT 2021 Registration Starts
Dates August 4, 2021 (Wednesday)
S. no: 2
Events CAT 2021 Registration Ends
Dates September 15, 2021 (Wednesday)
S. no: 3
Events CAT 2021 Admit Card Downloading Starts
Dates October 21, 2021 (Wednesday)
S. no: 4
Events CAT 2021 Exam
Dates November 28, 2021 (Sunday)

Eligibility Verification Procedure

If any IIM or another management institute selects you, you will have to verify all your documents for Written Ability Test (WAT) and Personal Interview (PI) processes. You must submit the following documents with the institute to be eligible for further participation in the selection procedure: -

1. Submission of marksheets and degree certificate: - When you will be shortlisted for WAT and PI rounds, you need to submit mark sheets and degree certificate (Provisional certificate or original degree certificate) along with their photocopies to the university or the institute at the time of the interview. You also must submit your original mark sheet and degree certificate to the university when joining the course.

2. Reservation certificates: - If you belong to any of the reserved categories such as SC, ST, OBC, PWD, and DA, then you must submit original reserved category certificates along with their photocopies to the university at the time of interview as well as at the time of joining the course.

CAT Exam is extremely coveted as it is the basic platform to build your career in management. No doubt the competition is very high, but if you prepare well and practice enough questions before the exam, you can significantly improve your qualifying chances.

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